[sword-devel] Quotation mark, non-English usage?

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 23 09:51:46 MST 2008

Karl Kleinpaste wrote:
> David Haslam <d.haslam at ukonline.co.uk> writes:
>> Is this supported by any of the Sword front-ends?
> GnomeSword does not.
> I would expect only that any given module should be encoded using
> whatever quotation scheme is suitable to its language.  I certainly
> don't expect the front ends to perform dynamic substitution of
> quotations on a per-locale basis.  I also expect that translators of GS'
> interface strings would use whatever quotation mark scheme they feel is
> needed, if the question ever arises at all -- which I somewhat doubt.
> I just checked the standard French texts in the Crosswire repos, of
> which only FreCrampon seems to use quotation marks at all, and it uses
> the expected «...» version.

The SWORD engine's handling of OSIS allows for one of four options:
1) Generation of quotes for the <q> element, using the level attribute 
to determine whether " or ' should be used.

2) Suppression of the generation of quotes for <q> elements. This uses a 
hack in the module's conf of setting OSISqToTick=false. Chris and I have 
noted that this should not be necessary and should go away.

3) Using the marker attribute of the <q> element to provide the proper 
mark. Note, with this the typical pattern is to use sID and eID on 
milestoned versions so that different markers can be provided. When the 
marker attribute is provided, these are used. Having marker='' (an empty 
attribute) will suppress the quote mark.

4) Not using the <q> element at all and directly embedding the quote 
markers in the text.

There have been quite a few discussions here in the past regarding 
quotes. The unsettled question is whether generated quotes should be 
based upon the user's locale or the module's language.

IMHO, it should be the module's language and it should be specified in 
the text by #3 or #4. From a practical perspective, I think this is what 
is happening.

Using <q who="Jesus"> is necessary to mark the Words of Christ (WoC) and 
without it they cannot be rendered in red. There is currently a change 
that we are going to make to osis2mod to make it easier to encode 
modules with WoC.

While using <q> to mark quotes is considered a best practice, it is a 
hard thing to do when creating an OSIS file from an e-text that uses 
quote marks directly.

Some older texts use straight apostrophe for both quote and apostrophe. 
The apostrophe can be at the beginning of a word, in the word, or at the 
end of the word. Knowing when it is an apostrophe and not a quote is 
hard. I heard that in some languages it is also used as a decoration on 
a letter. It is hard to know when to convert these to <q> and when to 
leave them alone.

Another difficulty in identifying quotations is continuation marks. 
(OSIS provides <milestone type="cQuote" ... /> for this.) I hear that 
this varies by language. But in English when a quote spans paragraphs 
the start of each paragraph in the quote starts with a " and do not end 
with one (unless the quote ends there).

Another difficulty in converting quote marks to quote elements is 
handling quotes that span chapters (e.g. Matt 5-7) or books (I-II Kings???).

Add into all of this the difficulty of language/locale dependent 
quotation systems and I think that many module encoders will just do #4.

In Him,

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